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Helen

Great Cacapon, WV, United States | Member Since 2011

6
HELPFUL VOTES
  • 24 reviews
  • 29 ratings
  • 130 titles in library
  • 15 purchased in 2014
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  • The Casual Vacancy

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 55 mins)
    • By J. K. Rowling
    • Narrated By Tom Hollander
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2863)
    Performance
    (2515)
    Story
    (2535)

    When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early 40s, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils.... Pagford is not what it at first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.

    cristina says: "I was surprised by how much I liked it"
    "More than I expected!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    What made the experience of listening to The Casual Vacancy the most enjoyable?

    At first I found the characters to be too everyday...too ordinary. There were no heroes, no one was glamorous or brilliant. But, one by one, each character became part of a fascinating tragedy. Everyone had a public side. Everyone had a private side. And the ways in which the characters related to one another were always complex and often heartbreaking.


    What other book might you compare The Casual Vacancy to and why?

    I doubt if anyone else will think of Jane Austen, but that's what came to mind. J.K. Rowling simply wrote about ordinary people involved in everyday events. And what a tangled web she wove! The characters became quite compelling. I'm still thinking about them weeks after finishing the program.


    What does Tom Hollander bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I liked the reader very much. He brought the voices to life without slowing the narrative.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    I once thought as I listened that an alternative title would be "The Ghost of Barry Fairbrother"


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Joseph J. Ellis
    • Narrated By Nelson Runger
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (646)
    Performance
    (195)
    Story
    (185)

    A New York Times best seller, Founding Brothers is an engrossing work of nonfiction from National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner Joseph J. Ellis. It is a book that uncovers the substance behind many of our most cherished historical tales. Here are six fascinating, well-researched chapters involving such icons as George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.

    Vernon says: "Remarkably moving book"
    "Things really haven't changed as much as I thought"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    How fascinating and remarkable to meet these founding brothers (plus one sister...Abigail) as human beings with fragile egos, remarkable strengths, and human frailties. Jefferson came across as a bit of a bully, Adams as a stubborn egotist, and Franklin as a showman. Washington came through the best. He embodied the Revolutionary spirit that kept the show from closing early!

    One can't resist comparing these loyalties to those that came after World War II. We had the unassailable Eisenhower and a period of bipartisan achievements. The question is, can we achieve the same as we move farther from that "finest hour" mentality?

    The founders knew there were challenges down the road as the nation would finally confront the slavery issue. And yet they chose to dodge the bullet leaving it for the next generation.

    Interesting.

    I thought the prose and the reading was a bit tedious and pedantic. I think there are better story tellers, but the way the subject was researched and packaged was great.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Shadow Prey

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By John Sandford
    • Narrated By Richard Ferrone
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (863)
    Performance
    (749)
    Story
    (738)

    G.Monie says: "Top 3 out of his 23 Davenport Novels"
    "I'm done with the series"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I was ready to settle into a new series starring Lucas Davenport. I liked Rules of Prey a lot. But this one was a put-off on several levels. I felt like the author wrote about native Americans without knowing very much about them. (Contrast this with the Tony Hillerman books) However, he included all of the "no good" stereotypes. We had drunken, drugged, miserable Indian characters in this tale, not one of whom inspired any real interest or worth for the plot. But it was the Lucas character that left me disgusted....the way he uses women with no regret. He just goes on about how he loves women, can't help it, and...implied...."take it or leave it." He's now a father...but that changes nothing. I felt sympathy for the New York lady cop who fell into step with this character and cries and begs at the end. Not fun to read. I'm not easily put off by personality flaws. So many great characters in other action novels are deeply flawed....Like Jo Nesbo's Harry....but this Lucas guy just bugs me!!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Heist

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Daniel Silva
    • Narrated By George Guidall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (669)
    Performance
    (596)
    Story
    (596)

    Master novelist Daniel Silva has thrilled listeners with 16 thoughtful and gripping spy novels featuring a diverse cast of compelling characters and ingenious plots that have taken them around the globe and back - from the United States to Europe, Russia to the Middle East. His brilliant creation, Gabriel Allon - art restorer, assassin, spy - has joined the pantheon of great fictional secret agents, including George Smiley, Jack Ryan, Jason Bourne, and Simon Templar.

    Brian says: "If new to Daniel Silva, great book. Otherwise..."
    "Ending was out of character"
    Overall
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    Story

    OK. Since I was troubled / puzzled by the ending, I should warn that my review might give too much away.

    So, let me get this straight. Eight billion or so dollars were cleverly drained away from the evil Syrian regime (the heist!), potentially weakening its power to kill and torture its citizens. Great!

    But, in order to save the book's appealing heroine from her hostage state, Allon negotiates her release, lets one of the evil doers slip back into his role, and releases the fortune back to the regime. In short....Allon negotiates with terrorists to save one life and, quite possibly, seals the miserable fate of thousands for years to come. Oh....but.....happy ending....he finds a lost painting.

    I have either read or listened to every Daniel Silva book, and I'll probably continue to do so. But this one seemed strangely out of character.

    Finally, George Guidall is an excellent reader.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Hiding Place

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 14 mins)
    • By Corrie ten Boom, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill
    • Narrated By Wanda McCaddon
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (316)
    Performance
    (286)
    Story
    (289)

    At one time, Corrie ten Boom would have laughed at the idea that she had a story to tell. For the first 50 years of her life, nothing out of the ordinary ever happened to her. She was a spinster watchmaker living contentedly with her sister and their elderly father in the tiny house over their shop in Haarlem. Their uneventful days, as regulated as their own watches, revolved around their abiding love for one another. But with the Nazi invasion and occupation of Holland, everything changed....

    Cindy says: "Compelling and inspiring story."
    "Powerful and radiant with faith"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The story had details of agony and misery that might not be something everyone would choose to experience. The book was recommended to me by a Dutch friend who lived through the German occupation. She wanted me to understand the circumstances surrounding her early years. For her sake, I was glad to read it. But...oh....the layers and layers of faith and prayer that served the main characters so well. Would the writer have survived had her Christian convictions not been so firm? I was both drawn and repelled by some of the simplistic views of Corrie and her sister Betsy. I am still mulling over how I would have responded to their ministry in the concentration camp. The reader has an air of missionary goodness in her tone. I'm sure it matches the intent of the writer.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Son: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 28 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbø
    • Narrated By Gildart Jackson
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (568)
    Performance
    (519)
    Story
    (517)

    Sonny Lofthus is a strangely charismatic and complacent young man. Sonny’s been in prison for a dozen years, nearly half his life. The inmates who seek out his uncanny abilities to soothe leave his cell feeling absolved. They don’t know or care that Sonny has a serious heroin habit - or where or how he gets his uninterrupted supply of the drug. Or that he’s serving time for other peoples’ crimes. Sonny took the first steps toward addiction when his father took his own life rather than face exposure as a corrupt cop. Now Sonny is the seemingly malleable center of a whole infrastructure of corruption....

    Mary says: "Much more than I expected!"
    "Nesbo just gets better"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This one has it all. The characters are well drawn with individual flaws and strengths. The son is at once a lethal threat, a just presence in an unjust world, a tender lover, and an abused and wounded child-man. One grieves for him at the same time one is appalled by the cruelty of his vengeance. The plot twist at the end of the novel simply amplifies the injustice under which he has suffered. And yet, the ending is a sweet reward for all endured.

    Even without Harry Hole, Nesbo satisfies his devoted readers.

    The reader is good, but I was a little put off by the female portrayals. They were a little too clipped and curt for my taste.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Police: A Harry Hole Novel, Book 10

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Jo Nesbø
    • Narrated By John Lee
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (573)
    Performance
    (488)
    Story
    (491)

    The police urgently need Harry Hole…. A killer is stalking Oslo's streets. Police officers are being slain at the scenes of crimes they once investigated but failed to solve. The murders are brutal, the media reaction hysterical. But this time, Harry can't help.... For years, detective Harry Hole has been at the center of every major criminal investigation in Oslo. His dedication to his job and his brilliant insights have saved the lives of countless people. But now, with those he loves most facing terrible danger, Harry is not in a position to protect anyone. Least of all himself...

    Charles Atkinson says: "Simply the Best Detective Series In any Language"
    "Read them all...this is a favorite."
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Once again, Jo Nesbo succeeds in delivering just the right amount of gritty suspense and mayhem without sacrificing the loyal reader's bond with our beloved Harry. I was kept in breathless anticipation for Harry to...yet again...screw up his personal life. Or, even worse, die!
    I admire the way that the reader was led to suspect one after another character as the cop killer.....and then to be blind sided when the real murderer was revealed. Nice writing to pull that off! Nesbo at his best.
    So, have we said goodbye to Harry as he rides off into a happy future with Rakel and Oleg? Somehow I both doubt it...and hope NOT!
    Only negative on this book....I wasn't happy with the reader. I agree with other reviewers...bring back the previous series reader. I loved John Lee's reading of the Follett books for which a nice Welsh accent was a plus. But it just didn't work for this Norwegian cast of characters.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything

    • UNABRIDGED (17 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By Richard Matthews
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (6919)
    Performance
    (2727)
    Story
    (2736)

    Bill Bryson has been an enormously popular author both for his travel books and for his books on the English language. Now, this beloved comic genius turns his attention to science. Although he doesn't know anything about the subject (at first), he is eager to learn, and takes information that he gets from the world's leading experts and explains it to us in a way that makes it exciting and relevant.

    Corby says: "Very informative, fun to listen to"
    "Grand review of the natural sciences"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I am a retired science educator. As such, I easily remember most of the names dropped into this narrative....like old friends. But finding them in one sweeping overview of the natural sciences was like a thrilling journey. In the hands of master story teller Bryson, the history became a lively tale of what is known, what is probable, and what is left to be discovered. I loved the book, and I know that I will listen again. I can't stop thinking about the way the planet has and will continue to change.
    I think I might have responded even better had it been read by someone with a less of a formal lecture style. But Richard Matthews gave a flawless performance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • March

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 22 mins)
    • By Geraldine Brooks
    • Narrated By Richard Easton
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (470)
    Performance
    (204)
    Story
    (207)

    As the North reels under a series of unexpected defeats during the dark first year of the war, one man leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. Riveting and elegant as it is meticulously researched, March is an extraordinary novel woven out of the lore of American history.

    Paula says: "Great book, greatly narrated"
    "Better book than Little Women"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    As a girl, I tried...really tried...to like Little Women for my Mom's sake. I even received a set of dolls for Christmas, Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth.I tried to treasure them like Mom did. Couldn't. The book was just too sweet and nicey nice.
    March was almost 180 degrees in the opposite direction. There was nothing "nice" about this character. He was kind of pathetic in his never ending lapses. He came close to being human, but seemed to lack the ability to get out of his academic, hopelessly idealistic dream world. Not even the interesting character Grace or his beleaguered wife Marmee (what an awful name!!!) could penetrate his shell.
    I thought the narrator adopted the perfect tone for March. While reciting the sometimes flowery phrases, he revealed the flaws that plagued him.
    Not my favorite book, but I'm glad I persisted. I liked the author's afterwords. Turns out she shared my feelings about Little Women. I'm grateful to her for bringing us March to improve my reactions to the entire package.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Book Thief

    • UNABRIDGED (13 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Markus Zusak
    • Narrated By Allan Corduner
    Overall
    (8386)
    Performance
    (6530)
    Story
    (6559)

    It's just a small story really, about, among other things, a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak's groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can't resist: books.

    Shannon says: "Word Thief"
    "This one will stay with me forever"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    At first I resisted. I almost decided not to read yet another account of the misery of the great war. So much suffering, so much injustice and cruelty! Did I really want to go through this again from the point of view of yet another afflicted human being? But I stayed with it, and I am not only happy that I did, I am transformed by the narrative. The girl, the Papa, the cantankerous but loving Mama (who can forget the scene when Rose storms into the school to tell of Max's recovery?) and the Jew hidden in the cellar who clings to life for Liesel's sake...the characters will live on in my heart.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • The Faithful Spy

    • UNABRIDGED (12 hrs and 4 mins)
    • By Alex Berenson
    • Narrated By Robertson Dean
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2242)
    Performance
    (878)
    Story
    (871)

    John Wells is the only American CIA agent ever to penetrate al Qaeda. Since before the attacks in 2001, Wells has been hiding in the mountains of Pakistan, biding his time, building his cover.

    Margaret says: "Faithful Spy"
    "Too Bloody for me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I like a good thriller, and I can take a good measure of "blood and guts". But this one was over the top. There were too many scenes involving blood, brains, and bones being splattered all over the landscape. When this kind of violence becomes routine....I bail out. Sorry. Couldn't get through it.

    I thought the narrator was perfect for this very rough ride.

    I'm sure many will enjoy the experience. Just not my thing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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